June 21, 2010 Michael Bickerton
“You probably know who your best customers are. Make them a star on your site.” Jamison Stafford.
The social marketing age has changed the way you need to view your customers. They are still customers, yes, but more importantly, they are partners, and you need to not only know who they are but recognize the relationship for what it is; a partnership.
There are many suggesting that you bring your customers into your business, your campaign, your university, your charity, in fact, any institution or enterprise. The idea is to enable your customers, allow them to critique your work, your plans, and your products. Also give them the ability to get involved in planning, research, design and even new product ideas. As you introduce your customers (make those partners), they will provide for you, support, marketing, customer feedback, sharing, blogging and more importantly sales.
Your partner will assist you in improving your products and services, they will support you in this new relationship, and be proud of being part of your community. There are lots to learn from your customers and sometimes more to learn from your prospects. The real question is how? How does one begin to start down the road of partnership?
As your digital agency, we recommend a few initial steps to assist you in getting the process started, get online, open Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Slideshare accounts, and start to “share” your information with your customers. Invite them to join you in reviewing something simple, ask them for their input and assistance, let them know you are looking for open communication. Yes, it really does to start to sound like a marriage, doesn’t it? The reason it does is that it is exactly that, a full-fledged partnership, and who better to guide you than your partner. We recommend you get blogging as well, advise your customers you are online and willing to start a conversation. Remember this isn’t mass marketing, just blasting out your story, this is a communication, a dialogue.
Make sure your social marketing and networks are all about customer service, communication, and asking questions. Remember, this is a relationship, and as with any good relationship, your must remain thankful and respectful of all input, your partners will surely notice. Partners or customers or both you decide.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, June 2010